ARLINGTON, Virginia — On the heels of a momentous event celebrating 60 years with a U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) office in Japan, a team of four senior executives from Japan’s leading milling companies will travel to the United States to continue building upon that legacy. As a part of USW’s market development activities, the trip includes stops in Oregon and Washington, DC from April 28 to May 4, 2016.
“Japan is a loyal U.S. wheat customer because our relationship is built on mutual trust and our commitment to the best interests of our end-use customers,” said USW Vice President and West Coast Office Director Steve Wirsching. “But as with every relationship, it is important to keep the lines of communications open and to demonstrate full transparency in our practices. This trade team visit is essential to that mission.”
USW collaborated with the Oregon Wheat Commission to organize and host this trade team.
The Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) established the first overseas U.S. wheat export office in Tokyo in 1956 and in that same year, the first team of Japanese millers visited the United States to learn observe U.S. wheat production, quality and marketing. Over the years, bringing trade teams to the United States has become a tradition and for well over a decade, this particular activity has become an annual trip for Japanese executive millers. Often the team extends its traditional trip to the Pacific Northwest to include a visit to Washington, DC.
During its visit to Oregon, the team will follow the wheat through the supply chain from farm to shipment, demonstrating at the each step the U.S. wheat industry’s commitment to quality and efficiency. Their time will include meetings and tours with the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and Louis Dreyfus export terminal. Once in Washington, DC, the team will shift its focus to trade policy and get an overview of the U.S. and global wheat market situation. They will also discuss modern farm management systems, dietary trends and views on competitive markets.
“Japan is an essential market for U.S. producers, purchasing 3.2 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat annually, making it the single largest buyer of U.S. wheat in the world. Japanese consumers demand high quality and expect a consistent and reliable supply of wheat food products,” said Wirsching. “At the 60 year anniversary event, the head of the Japanese Millers Association explained that U.S. wheat accounts for six percent of the daily caloric intake of the average Japanese consumer. That is a vivid illustration of the success of this partnership and how much is required from our farmers and wheat supply system.”
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.
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